Frankie Goole





INTERVIEW

FRANKIE GOOLE

204 5th Ave. So.

Nashville, Tenn.





"I wuz bawn in Smith County on uther side ob Lebanon. Ah'll be 85

y'ars ole Christmas Day.



Mah ole Missis wuz named Sallie, en mah Marster wuz George Waters. Mah

mammy's name wuz Lucindia, she wuz sold fum me w'en I wuz six weeks

ole, en mah Missis raised me. I allus slept wid her. Mah Missis wuz

good ter me, but (her son) mah Marster whup'd me.



Dunno ob any ex-slaves votin' er holdin' office ob any kin.



I member de Ku Klux Klan en Pat-a-rollers. Dey would kum 'roun en whup

de niggers wid a bull whup. Ef'n dey met a niggah on de road dey'd

say, "Whar ez you gwin dis time ob mawnin'?" De slaves would say, "We

ez gwine ovuh 'yer ter stay aw'ile," en den dey would start beatin'

dem. I'se stod in our do'er en 'yeard de hahd licks, en screams ob de

ones dat wuz bein' whup'd, en I'd tell mah Missis, "Listen ter dat!"

She would say, "See, dat ez w'at will happen ter you ef'n you try ter

leave." I member one nite a Ku Klux Klan rode up ter our do'er. I tole

mah Missis sum body wuz at de do'er wantin' ter know whar mah Marster

wuz. She tole 'im he wuz d'ed en her son had gon' 'way dat mawnin'. He

hunted all thro de house, en up in de loft, en said whar ez de

niggers? Mah Missis tole i'm [TR: 'im] dey wuz down in de lettle

house. He went down dere, woke dem up, axed dem 'bout dere Marster en

den whup'd all ob dem. Ef de had de Ku Klux Klan now dere wouldin' be

so menny peeples on de kounty road en in de pen.



I useter drive up de cows en mah feet would be so cole en mah toes

cracked open en bleedin', en I'd be cryin' 'til I got almos' ter de

house den I'd wipe mah eyes on de bottom ob mah dress, so de Marster

wouldin' know dat I had bin cryin'. He'd say, "Frankie ain't you

cryin'?" I'd say, "No suh." "Ez you cole?" "Yes, sir." He would say

kum on en warm.



W'en de niggers wuz freed, all ob mah Missis slaves slipped 'way,

'cept me. One mawnin' she tole me ter go down en wake dem up, I went

down en knocked, no body said nuthin'. I pushed on de do'er--hit kum

op'n--en I fell in de room en hurt mah chin. I went back ter

Missis--en she sezs, "W'at ez de matter wid you?" I sezs, "Uncle John

en all ob dem ez gon'; I pushed on de do'er en fell in." She sezs you

know dey ez not gone, go back en git dem up. I had ter go back, but

dey wur'ent dere.



No, I don't member de sta'rs fallin'.



Mah Missis didunt gib me nuthin, cept mah clothes, en she put dem in a

carpet bag. Atter freedom mah mammy kum fum Lebanon en got me. Ah'll

neber fergit dat day--Oh Lawdy! I kin see her now. Mah ole Missis'

daughter-in-law had got a bunch ob switches ter whup me, I wuz

standin' in de do'er shakin' all ovuh, en de young Missis wuz tellin'

me ter git mah clothes off. I sezs, "I se'd a 'oman kum'g thro de

gate." Mah Missis sezs, "Dat ez Lucindia" en de young Missis hid de

switches. Mah mammy sezs I'se kum ter git mah chile. Mah Missis tole

her ter let me spend de nite wid her, den she'd send me ter de Court

House at 9 o'clock next mawnin'. So I stayed wid de Missis dat nite,

en she tole me ter alluz be a good girl, en don't let a man er boy

trip me. I didunt know w'at she mean but I allus membered w'at she

sai. I guess I wuz 'bout 12 y'ars ole w'en I lef' mah Missis en mah

mammy brought me ter Nashville en put me ter wuk. De mawnin' I lef'

mah Missis, I went ter de Court House en met mah mammy; de Court room

wuz jammed wid peeple. De Jedge tole me ter hold my right hand up, I

wuz so skeered I stuck both hands up. Jedge sezs, "Frankie ez dat yo

mammy?" I sezs, "I dunno, she sezs she ez." (W'at did I know ob a

mammy dat wuz tuk fum me at six weeks ole). He sezs, "Wuz yo Marster

good ter you?" I sezs, "Mah Missis wuz, but mah Marster wasn't--he

whup'd me." De Jedge said, "Whar did he whup you?" I tole him on mah

back. He sezs, "Frankie, ez you laughin'?" I sezs, "No, sir." He said

ter mah mammy, "Lucindia tek dis chile en be good ter her fer she has

b'en mistreated. Sum day she can mek a livin' fer you." (En thank de

Lawd I did keep her in her ole days en wuz able ter bury her.) At dat

time money wuz called chin plaster en w'en I lef' out ob de court room

diff'ent peeple gib me money en I had mah hat almos' full. Dat was de

only money I had gib ter me.



I nussed Miss Sadie Pope Fall; she ma'ried Mat Gardner. I also nussed

Miss Sue Porter Houston. I den wuk'd at de Bline Schul.



De fust pa'r ob shoes I eber had wuz atter I kum ter Nashville. Dey

had high tops en wuz called bootees. I had sum red striped socks wid

dem.



De ole songs I member:



"De Ole Time 'ligion."

"I'm Goin' ter Join de Ban."



W'en dey would sing deze songs hit would almos' mek you ha'r stand up

on yo haid, de way dem peeples would jump en shout!



I member w'en sum ob de slaves run 'way durin' slavery.



I dunno any tales; mah mammy wasn't a 'oman ter talk much. Maybe ef

she had bin I would hab had an easier time. As far as I know de

ex-slaves hab had diff'ent kinds ob wuk since dere freedum. No, I ain'

nebber se'd any ghos'. I'se bin in de woods en dark places, but didn't

see nothin', en I'se not goin' ter say I did kaze I might git

par'lized.



I went ter schul one y'ar at Fisk in de y'ar 1869.



De last man I wuk'd fer wuz at de Link Hotel. Den I started keepin'

boarders. Hab fed all deze Nashville police. De police ez de ones dat

hep'ed git deze relief orders fer me. I hab lived on dis street fer 60

years. I lived 22 y'ars whar de Hermitage Laundry ez. Dat ez whar I

got de name "Mammie." W'iles livin' dere I raised eighteen chilluns

white en black, en sum ob dem iz good ter me now.



I had sum papah's 'bout mah age en diff'ent things, but w'en de back

waters got up, dey got lost. I didn't hab ter move but I kep prayin'

en talkin' ter de Lawd en I b'leeve he 'Yeard me fer de water didn't

git in mah house.



I member w'en de yellow fever en de cholera wuz 'yer, in 1870 en 1873.

Dey didn't hab coffins nuff ter put dem in, so dey used boxes en piled

de boxes in waggins lak hauling wood.



I'se aint worth a dime now w'en hit kums ter wukin' fer I'se aint able

ter do nuthin, thoo I can't complain ob mah livin' since de relief has

bin takin' keer ob me.



Dis young peeples, "Oh mah Lawd!" Dey ain' worth talkin' 'bout. I

tries ter shame deze 'omen, dey drink (I call hit ole bust haid

whiskey), en do such mean things. I'se disgusted at mah own color. Dey

try ter know ter much, en dunno muthin', en dey don' do 'nuff wuk.



I nebber voted en dunno nothin' 'bout hit. Hab nebber had any frens in

office. Cain' member nothin' 'bout re'structon. I hab bin sick en

still don' feel right. Sumtimes I feels krazy.



Hab bin tole dat black cat crossin' road in frunt ob you wuz bad luck.

I nebber did b'leeve in any signs. Ef I ez ter hab bad luck, ah'll hab

hit.



I b'long ter de Baptist Chuch.



De culored peeples useter hab camp meetin's, en dey'd last fer two

weeks. Lawd hab mercy did we hab a time at dem meetin's, preachin',

singin', en shoutin'. En ovuh sum whar neah dey would be cookin'

mutton en diff'ent good things ter eat. Sum ob dem would shout 'til

dere throats would be sore en hit seemed dat sum ob dem niggahs didn't

keer ef dey got home ter wuk er not.



I sumtimes wish fer de good ole days. Deze days folks don't hab time

fer 'ligion. De dog-gone ole radio en udder things ez takin' hits

place.



Oh Lawdie how dey did baptize down at de wha'f! De Baptist peeple

would gather at de wha'f on de fust Sunday in May. Dey would kum fum

all de Baptist Chuches. Would leave de chuch singin' en shoutin' en

keep dat up 'til dey got ter de river. Hab seen dem wid new clothes on

git down on de groun en roll en git covered wid dirt. Sum ob dem would

almos' luze dere clothes, en dey'd fall down lak dey wuz dying.



Deze last few y'ars dey hab got ter stylish ter shout.





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